Train2Game News: Mass effect of Bioware ‘fathers’ on the move

Bioware has announced its plans for the future following the departure of their founding members.

Earlier in the week Dr Ray Muzyka and Dr Greg Zeschuk, the founding fathers of Bioware, left the company.

To reassure the world, the company announced what’s next in line for development. The biggest announcement was that of a new IP for the next generation of consoles.

Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of Bioware Edmonton and Montreal, said “Casey [Hudson, Mass Effect series boss] and his leads are putting together their vision for an all-new game set in a fictional universe, built from the bottom-up with all new gaming technology.”

Their next project to launch will be more DLC for the highly popular Mass Effect 3. They have said they will develop more multiplayer and single player content. The single player content is strongly rumoured to be set on the Mass Effect 2 location, Omega. The add-on should see players team up with angry asari Aria T’loak to retake her crime-laden home from long time antagonists Cerberus.

Bioware are currently looking in to how they can expand the Mass Effect series in to another game for the series.

The company have also been working on their other highly popular series, Dragon Age. The third instalment was announced a few days ago named Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. No more details have been released about the game to date.

Mr Flynn said about the departure of the Doctors “I know this might be concerning for some of you but the leaders at BioWare have had some time to think about it – to think about how the games, the fans, and the creative teams would move on without the two guys who started this organization back in 1995.

“We – including Ray and Greg – think the studio is solid and the team here is ready to embark on a whole new era of games.”

Train2Game News: Danny looks back at his favourite interviews in his final day as Blog Editor

After over two years in the role of Train2Game Blog Editor, I’m leaving for pastures new after accepting a job at a major publisher based in London.

This role has allowed me to attend industry events including Develop Conference, Eurogamer and Gamescom as well as enabling me to interview some of the biggest names in game development.

With this being my final day with Train2Game, it’s a great time to revisit some of my personal favourite interviews from my time in the role of Blog Editor.

 26th August 2011 – RAGE Creative Director Tim Willits

Speaking to me at Gamescom, the i D Software boss talked about creating RAGE, his role as creative director and the huge benefits of modding to those looking to break into the games industry.

2nd September 2011 – Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Jason Vandenberghe

An interview recorded at Gamescom, in which Jason talks about game design in Far Cry 3, using motion capture technology and actors, improvements for Far Cry 3 and more.

27th September 2011 – Valve writer Chet Faliszek

Speaking to us Eurogamer Expo, Chet discusses development of CS: GO, beta testing and modding.

31st October 2011 – Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer James Swallow

In a huge interview, James Swallow talks writing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, game design, what makes a good games writer and more.

14th November 2011 – Brink Lead Writer Ed Stern

Splash Damage’s Ed Stern spoke to us in-depth about the design and art of Brink, narrative in games, what makes a good designer and breaking into the games industry.

24th November 2011 – Bioware co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka & Dr. Greg Zeschuk

Recorded before the BioWare Lecture at BAFTA, Muzyka and Zeschuk talked about games as art, the history of BioWare and how they transitioned from working in medicine to working in game development.

22nd February 2012 Remedy Head of Franchise Development Oskari Häkkinen

Oskari Häkkinen talks game design and development of Alan Wake, life at Remedy and digital distribution, among other things.

27th March 2012 – SoulCalibur V game director Daishi Odashima

Speaking to The Train2Game Blog at a SoulCalibur V tournament, Odashima discusses development of SoulCalibur V , the importance of community feedback and what makes a good game designer.

July 11th 2012 – QA Veteran and Cheat Mode Author Dan Jacobs

In what must be the longest Train2Game Blog interview, Dan Jacobs talks about his book, Cheat Mode, QA Testing, life in the industry and much more.

20th July 2012 – Ian Livingstone OBE

In my final piece for The Train2Game Blog, Ian Livingstone discusses Make Something Unreal Live, Fighting Fantasy, what makes a good game developer and more.

Thank you to everyone who has read The Train2Game Blog over the last two years, commented on here, or on the Train2Game forum. Be sure to keep reading The Train2Game Blog for more great insight into the industry once my successor takes over in the role of Editor.

Danny Palmer – Train2Game Blog Editor April 2010-July 2012

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum

Train2Game interview: Bioware co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka & Dr. Greg Zeschuk

Train2Game attended the recent Bioware Lecture at BAFTA, presented by the studio founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk. Their catalogue includes the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises, and their Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO is released next month.

While at BAFTA’s central London HQ, the Train2Game blog sat down with Dr. Muzyka and Dr. Zeschuk, both of whom were practicing doctors when they founded Bioware. They discussed the subject of their talk, the history of Bioware, and how they found the transition from working in medicine to working in game development. They also provided advice for those looking to get a job in the games industry.

Read the interview here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page. Leave your comments here, or on the Train2Game forum.

We’re here at BAFTA for the Bioware Lecture, what is your talk about?

Dr. Ray Muzyka: We’re talking about games as art and we’re trying to illustrate that with some examples from Bioware, EA and other games within the industry and we’re also talking about the definition of art and games are maybe a different kind of art.  Innovative and progressive and fresh and maybe more powerful than other sorts of art. We’re going to touch on that and hopefully it’ll be interesting and provocative.

So where do you stand on the games as art debate?

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: Well it’s definitely a yes for us! What we do is we try and make the case using a definition form Tolstoy’s book ‘What is Art?’ and expand that and show how it applies to video games, looking at some examples and talking about how actually it’s a simple definition. If you convey emotion it’s art basically. So that’s really what we’re talking about, and there’s also some talk about what we do with that at Bioware, like what things do we focus on in that regard as well.

Tell us a bit about how Bioware came to be, how was the studio founded?

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: It’s funny, we’ve probably been doing this nearly 20 years. We were officially incorporated 16 years ago in 1995, but we were actually working on things a good few years before that. Ray and I met in medical school, we both loved video games. The third partner was also a doctor then but left very early in Bioware’s history and went back to medicine… of all things!

We actually practiced as doctors for a brief time back in the 90s, then transitioned into focusing just on games. Over time that’s what happened and Bioware grew and grew and grew to what it is today when it’s one of those things where you could never imagine where it would end up, like being here talking at the British Academy of Television and Arts.

Dr. Ray Muzyka: [Laughs] It’s pretty cool.

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: It’s not something you would’ve expected when we started! So it’s been an interesting and pretty remarkable journey. It’s built a lot on our core values, and the focus on humility and integrity and making sure that we always make great stuff our fans like and our people like making it. So it’s a happy eco-system that we like to drive.

How did you find the transition from medicine into game development?

Dr. Ray Muzyka: It was surprisingly easy, we didn’t stop medicine, we transitioned out of it. I did emergency medicine, I did locums basically, which are temporary replacement positions in small towns. It was exciting and exhilarating, then I went back to work at Bioware for the rest of the week. So you did that for a couple of evenings and then you did video games the rest of the time. Gradually the video games became more and more prevalent and I went back to school and got an MBA then stopped medicine at that time because I didn’t have any time. Greg you were similar weren’t you?

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: Yeah I worked one year less than Ray in medicine. I think it was making Bioware successful and making great games was just too exciting.

Dr. Ray Muzyka: There are principles that are relevant between medicine and games. The idea of having a collaborative team, working with nurses and physios and other doctors, ensuring you’re delivering high quality service experience to your consumer, the patient. There’s a lot of analogues there [between medicine and game development], especially now with the online connected experience. There’s also value in humility in medicine that really translates well to running a business or developing a game, like always trying to make sure you’re not taking anything for granted.

So if you see a bug, don’t assume it’s already known. You enter it and you fix it and try to do your best every step of the way. And if you follow those basic principles – lifelong learning is another one from medicine that’s relevant to business or gaming – never assuming you know what you need to know when entering a new market, new business model, new platform. But spending the time to play the content itself on the new platforms, listening to your fans feedback actively, it all links in some indirect hard to describe way that makes sense somehow!

And finally, what advice would you give to those looking to get into the games industry?

Dr. Greg Zeschuk: I think education is now a key part of it. One of the most important things you need to get into the games business is actually figure out what it is you want to do, whether it’s art, or design or programming and take the courses to do that. So get the training, but also do it yourself. Have fun, have a passion for it and practice outside of the formal training, and if you do those two things you’ll be in a tremendous position.

Thanks both of you for your time.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum. For more information, go to www.train2game.com

BAFTA’s public events and online resources bring you closer to the creative talent behind your favourite games, films, and TV shows. Find out more at www.bafta.org/newsletter,www.facebook.com/bafta or twitter.com/baftagames

Train2Game news: Bioware co-founder on getting into the industry

Train2Game students should be doing extracurricular work away from their courses in order to be in the best position to enter the games industry. That’s according to Bioware’s Dr. Greg Zeschuk, who along with co-founder Dr Ray Muzyka recently spoke to the Train2Game blog at a special BAFTA event.

Bioware, developers of the Dragon Age and Mass Effect fanchises, are currently gearing up for the release of MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.

“One of the most important things you need to get into the games business is actually figure out what it is you want to do, whether it’s art, or design or programming and take the courses to do that.” said Dr. Zeschuk on how to get into the games industry.

Current Train2Game students are already a step ahead there given the fact their on a Train2Game course. The Bioware co-founder added that if you also practice skills outside of formal training, you’ll be in a great position to get that first job in the games industry.

“So get the training, but also do it yourself Have fun, have a passion for it and practice outside of the formal training, and if you do those two things you’ll be in a tremendous position.” said Dr. Zeschuk.

Bioware co-founders Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka were speaking to the Train2Game blog as part of an interview conducted before their lecture at BAFTA. The interview, to be published shortly, sees the two former medical professionals talk about games as art, founding Bioware and similarities between working in medicine and working in the games industry.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Dr. Zeschuk’s advice? Does his focus on the importance of training give you encouragement? Are you also working on a side-project?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

BAFTA’s public events and online resources bring you closer to the creative talent behind your favourite games, films, and TV shows. Find out more at www.bafta.org/newsletter,www.facebook.com/bafta or twitter.com/baftagames